I was surprised by how easy he was to book for this gig! St. Bernard comes to us this morning from the Liturgy of the Hours, where his twelfth century sermon on the Song of Songs serves as Second Reading. Bernard's words on Christ's love for us and His Sacred Heart were too powerful for me to not pass along. (And in a happy coincidence, I was just reading about the Song of Songs as I lay in bed last night, enjoying Christopher West's Fill These Hearts.) So without further ado, St Bernard:
can the weak find a place of firm security and peace, except in the
wounds of the Savior? Indeed, the more secure is my place there, the
more he can do to help me. The world rages, the flesh is heavy, and the
devil lays his snares, but I do not fall, for my feet are planted on
firm rock. I may have sinned gravely. My conscience would be distressed,
but it would not be in turmoil, for I would recall the wounds of the
Lord: he was wounded for our iniquities. What sin is there so deadly
that it cannot be pardoned by the death of Christ? And so if I bear in
mind this strong, effective remedy, I can never again be terrified by
the malignancy of sin.
Surely the man who said: My sin is too great to merit pardon, was
wrong. He was speaking as though he were not a member of Christ and had
no share in his merits, so that he could claim them as his own, as a
member of the body can claim what belongs to the head. As for me, what
can I appropriate that I lack from the heart of the Lord who abounds in
mercy? They pierced his hands and feet and opened his side with a spear.
Through the openings of these wounds I may drink honey from the rock
and oil from the hardest stone: that is, I may taste and see that the
Lord is sweet.
He was thinking thoughts of peace, and I did not know it, for who
knows the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? But the
piercing nail has become a key to unlock the door, that I may see the
good will of the Lord. And what can I see as I look through the hole?
Both the nail and the wound cry out that God was in Christ reconciling
the world to himself. The sword pierced his soul and came close to his
heart, so that he might be able to feel compassion for me in my
Through these sacred wounds we can see the secret of his heart, the
great mystery of love, the sincerity of his mercy with which he visited
us from on high. Where have your love, your mercy, your compassion shone
out more luminously than in your wounds, sweet, gentle Lord of mercy?
More mercy than this no one has than that he lay down his life for those
who are doomed to death.
My merit comes from his mercy; for I do not lack merit so long as he
does not lack pity. And if the Lord’s mercies are many, then I am rich
in merits. For even if I am aware of many sins, what does it matter?
Where sin abounded grace has overflowed. And if the Lord’s mercies are
from all ages for ever, I too will sing of the mercies of the Lord for
ever. Will I not sing of my own righteousness? No, Lord, I shall be
mindful only of your justice. Yet that too is my own; for God has made
you my righteousness.